Celebrate National Wear Red Day to Support Heart Health
Don your finest red clothing on Friday, February 7th for National Wear Red Day! Celebrated each year on the first Friday in February, National Wear Red Day was started in 2002 to raise awareness around heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. This national day of awareness takes place during February, which has been designated American Heart Month since 1963. Beginning with a presidential proclamation, all month-long hospitals around the country host free screenings and heart health events to spread the knowledge about risk factors, treatment, and preventative care.
Did you know more women than men die each year from heart disease? In conjunction with National Red Wear Day, the American Heart Association is pioneering Go Red for Women, which seeks to advocate for more research for women’s heart health. As you head into February, get as informed as possible surrounding heart health. These are the major risk factors for heart disease:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Physical inactivity
- Family history of early coronary heart disease
- Age (for women, 55 and older)
Despite what you may think, heart disease is largely preventable. Acting today, no matter your age will ensure you’re on the right track when it comes to a healthy heart. Here’s what you can do now to reduce your risk:
Exercise a few times a week
While there is no “magic pill” when it comes to preventing heart disease, exercise is among the best actions you can do to lower your risk. According to the American Heart Association, you should aim for 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days a week. That could be going on a hike, taking a brisk walk, jump roping or playing a game of pick-up basketball. Little actions, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, can also make a big difference. According to the stats, inactive people are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
Eat heart-healthy foods
When it comes to heart health, your diet plays a huge role. Limit foods that are high in trans-fat, saturated fat, added sugar and sodium and opt for whole foods instead. There are plenty of heart-healthy foods you may be already eating or can easily incorporate into your diet. Below are some of the best foods for your heart.
- Fish that are high in omega-3s, such as salmon and tuna
- Nuts like almonds and walnuts
- Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale
- 70% or higher dark chocolate
- Red wine (in moderation, of course)
Check-in with your doctor
Signs of heart disease are rarely obvious, which is why visiting your doctor regularly is a crucial step in preventative care. During a regular visit, ask your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose and know what numbers to look for. If you’re someone who suffers from high blood pressure, look for ways to manage your stress and sleep right, which can both affect the health of your heart.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. and affects every organ in the body. The chemicals in tobacco smoke not only harm your heart and damage blood vessels but also greatly increase your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. If you are trying to quit, lean on your family or local community center for support and talk to your doctor for helpful tips to quit cold turkey.
Are you planning on wearing red to raise awareness about heart disease? Tag us using the official hashtag #OurHearts and let us know in the comments below!